Arren Williams is the name, and I'm a stylist, editor and trend reporter. You'll catch my work regularly popping up in print in the likes of the National Post, House & Home and elsewhere. I'm also a guest expert on Citytv's CityLine, and you can occasionally find me on HGTV as well as on ABC 7 News in Chicago.

To keep things fun I've tapped a couple of friends - Julia Black and Jenn Hannotte - to contribute their views on design too. Enjoy!


 Subscribe in a reader

New posts delivered right to your inbox!

Powered by Squarespace
Add to Technorati Favorites

Entries in HGTV (11)


Getting on the tube

Okay peeps, as a little bit of a sidestep from the normal stuff I post, I thought I'd give you the lowdown on a brand new HGTV Canada show that's just started casting and is need of, well, you!

Friends of mine at Proper Television are on the hunt for houseproud design savvy homeowners (not design professionals) that love their home and are opinionated about style. Into modern or traditional? Just survived a reno? Live in a yurt, a mansion or a condo the size of a walk-in closet? No matter. If you're picked to get on the show you've got the chance to win a cool $1,000.

Here are the deets -

If you live in Southern Ontario and think your home is something special they want to hear from you. Just email the following to casting@propertelevision.com by April 29, 2011: 

  • A short description of you and your home
  • A snapshot of you (jpeg if possible)
  • Up to 5 snaps of your home (jpegs if possible)
  • A daytime telephone number
  • Video isn't necessary at this point but if you insist, upload your vid to YouTube and send the link


{giveaway} Sarah Richardson fan decks signed by Sarah + Tommy

Hot on the heels of the fantastic/exhausting/inspiring IDS I have a super-duper fun giveaway for ya! Yep, you have the chance to win one of three Sarah Richardson Designer Palette by Para Paints fan decks personally signed for you by both Sarah and Tommy. Not only that, one grand prize winner will walk away with a gift certificate for enough Para Paint in Sarah's scrummy colours to re-paint a whole room - 1 gallon of ceiling paint, 1 gallon of primer and 2 gallons of eggshell. The other two winners will receive a gift certificate for a gallon of Para Paint in one of Sarah's tints (which comes in 75 lovely shades, available across Canada at Lowe's and select retailers), plus all three winners will receive the addition of a little fun extra swag from SR's hit shows on HGTV. Sweet indeed!

Here are all the deets:

To enter for a chance* follow these easy steps -

Prizes: One grand prize that includes a Sarah Richardson Designer Palette fan deck personally signed by Sarah and Tommy, a Para Paint gift certificate for 1 gallon of ceiling paint, 1 gallon of primer and 2 gallons of eggshell (redeemable at Para's dealer locations), and assorted other items. Two other winners will receive Sarah Richardson Designer Palette fan decks personally signed by Sarah and Tommy, a gift certificate for a gallon of paint (redeemable at Para's dealer locations) and assorted other items. 

1. Leave a comment below the contest blog post (please include your email where asked) explaining why you'd like to win, before Tuesday Feb 8th, 2011, at 12pm EST. 

2. One grand prize winner and two other winners will be chosen by a random number generator and will be announced by email and as an update to this post on the morning of Wednesday Feb 9th, 2011, at 9am EST. Good Luck! 

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY  Void where prohibited. Odds depend on number of applicants who participate. Participants may enter the contest by following the steps mentioned above by Tuesday Feb 8th, 2011, at 12pm EST. Applicants must be of the age of majority in his/her province or territory of residence or older at the time of entry to participate and win. Contest open to Canadian residents, excluding residents of Quebec. Contest winner will be announced on ArrenWilliams.com, contacted via blog post comments, and must correctly answer a skill-testing question to win a prize. 


Julia Black: Milk, no cookies

When hunting for eco-friendly alternatives to painting furniture while we were shooting Pure Design, I was ecstatic to discover Homestead House Paint Company, Canada’s only milk paint manufacturer. I was even more thrilled to learn that beyond the 45 shades of all natural, enviro-friendly milk paint, they also have wood stains, 100% acrylic latex paint, and traditional oil paints (linseed or hempseed oil, just like the pioneers used), all of which are eco-awesome! If you can't find a colour you love (like the pretty robin's egg blue called Loyalist) all of Homestead's natural, biodegradable, VOC-free and all around earth-friendly paints, stains and finishes can be matched to any colour you wish, and can be used on just about anything - both indoors and out - that you fancy. So, as we look forward into the New Year, we can also look back and appreciate that some historic design tricks are in fact the way of the future. Cheers to a healthy, clean and environmentally kind 2010!

Check out the snap below to see Nadine and Jacques' gorgeous Homestead House milk-painted cabinet (and lovely living room) from a recent episode. [Image: John Queenan]

To read more posts from Julia click here, and to check out her cool blog click here.


Julia Black: Capturing Heidi Leverty

One of my favorite aspects of working on Pure Design is searching for local artists to feature in each episode. Several of us on the team would brainstorm and research that perfect creative type for each episode at hand, and with countless talented and passionate artists out there discovering them was such a memorable journey. One of my absolute faves this season was Heidi Leverty, an astounding photographer and enlightening artist. Her exceptional ability to convey, through her lens, the beauty in discarded objects is amazing. Within her four collections of photographs, Heidi shines a light on transformations, cycles, and lifespan, which causes us to reconsider and appreciate the value and beauty of all that is around us. Take a close look and you’ll see the ordinary material of our everyday routines becomes an extraordinary photograph. You can catch Heidi's inspired work on this week's episode of Pure Design on HGTV.

For even more of Julia's point of view check out her cool blog here.


5 quick questions: Tommy Smythe

If ever you want to meet someone with airs and graces, who looks down their nose and is the dictionary definition of pretentious, don't go knocking on interior designer Tommy Smythe's door. You definitely know Tommy from his work (and his wit) with Sarah Richardson on HGTV, and also from seeing his fab spaces in Canadian House & Home Magazine (check out the kitchen below, picked by the H&H editors as one of the most memorable rooms published in the mag's history), so I thought it would be fun to put him on the spot to answer 5 quick questions. He graciously agreed, and scooted along all the shots below, snapped by the talented Michael Graydon and featured on the pages of House & Home. Lovely, no?

And, to check out more 5 quick questions interviews with a slew of v. interesting folks, click here.

Arren Wiliams: What's inspiring you right now?

Tommy Smythe: Malachite, amethyst, The High Line, my sister Christie Smythe of Smythe Les Vestes, Yves St. Laurent, D Squared, peacock feathers, King Tut, Grace Coddington, Yoko Ono, London - New York - Palm Beach, Crayola crayons, poppies, Glee, Thom Browne, Miles Redd, flags, blogs.

AW: Is there anything that drives you crazy when you walk into a space?

TS: Fake.  Anything fake, really.  I'm the kind of guy who would (and has) survived on noodles and Gatorade for a month to be able to afford the real thing.  Knock offs are not fair and they're not design.

AW: What's the next thing you have your eyes on for your own house?

TS: I saw an oversized crystal and sterling match striker (I collect them) at a shop I love.  It's over $400, so I walked away, but I've been thinking about it a lot.  I have a crush on it.  I am waiting until I can get up the nerve to walk back in.  Then we will be together.  I'll just have to live on noodles and Gatorade for a few days....

AW: How would you describe your look, and has it changed over the years?

TS: My look has definitely changed over the years!  It's always evolving as I learn and travel and get exposed to more.  I have always liked an eclectic mix of things - the right balance of vintage, or antique and modern things.  I like rooms that have the feeling of timeless elegance and gracious living.  Style and comfort reflected in furniture and art curated with a sense of personal history.  I am really big on nostalgia...real comfort comes from there.

AW: What's next on the horizon?

TS: For the world of design:  I am so glad to have no idea!  What I love so much about this field is the surprise of it all - creative direction is so delightfully unpredictable.  That said, I think we can all expect to see quite a lot of plaid in the near future....

For me:  I am just about to begin shooting a brand new series with Sarah for HGTV Canada.  We're focusing on the building blocks of a room from top to bottom.  It's a '101' sort of a thing with our usual fun approach.  If it's not fun, it's just not worth doing - life is too short!!!